Disclaimer: I’m not a fan of the NFT craze in the same way that many others are. I have dueling perspectives on the power of owning something of value and the horrors of succumbing to mimetic desire.

In Web1, the internet was read-only. We were fascinated enough by the advent of magazines existing online that we didn’t even know we should expect more.

During this phase, users could only read assets.

In Web2, the internet became write-enabled. This meant that anywhere we could read content, we could also contribute to it. Comments became common, and through social media, validation became emphasized through the responses creators were receiving from their networks.

During this phase, platforms owned all of the data. And that’s how they took over the world.

Web3 promises such a magnitude of change that I fear not everyone is ready for it. The popularity of NFTs are a perfect example of that. They’re the residual “I need validation” emotions spilling into a genuine movement toward what it means to democratize access and opportunity.

We’re still feeling out this phase. Arguments are being had around how it should be built. But that’s what makes it so exciting.

Web3 is any and everything user-owned. If the worst of an NFT craze has to be what we suffer through to normalize the understanding of the value of ownership, I’m fine with it.

I’m looking forward to this next phase where ownership is fully distributed, opportunities are ubiquitous, and systems are decentralized. With that type of infrastructure, I’m confident that the phases of the future will undoubtedly unlock the best that humanity has to offer.